Sports

Men’s soccer ends weekend with two ties

By
Assistant Sports Editor
Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The No. 25 men’s soccer team (4-0-3) took on Santa Clara (2-4-1) and San Francisco (3-3-1) this past weekend, coming away with two 1-1 double-overtime ties. The Bears remain undefeated this season, but the trip to California was not completely satisfying, according to goalie Paul Grandstrand ’11.

“It’s a tough situation,” he said. “Overall, we played well — but at the end of the day, we didn’t get the results we wanted.”

Santa Clara capitalized on its chances early, as Eric Masch knocked home the rebound of a Grandstrand deflection for the game’s first goal in the 23rd minute. The one-goal deficit marked the second time Brown has trailed all season, but the team showed no signs of panic and fought its way back into the game with every possession.

“We knew we were playing well, other than the finishing part,” said Dylan Remick ’13. “We were controlling the pace and played our game, but we couldn’t put one away.”

The Bears ambushed the Broncos’ defense with a 7-2 shot advantage in the second half. The Bears’ overall fitness and offensive confidence kept them in the game, even though they were down 1-0 heading into the final ten minutes of play.

Brown cleared the ball in the 82nd minute to Nick Elenz-Martin ’10, who drilled a shot to the right hand corner of the net from 25 yards out. Both teams continued to struggle through double-overtime before the game ended with a 1-1 tie.

Ryan McDuff ’13 and Thomas McNamara ’13 each tallied three shots, as the Bears outshot the Broncos 15-8 for the game. Grandstrand (4-0-3) recorded three saves and allowed only the second goal by an opponent this season.

Brown headed north on Sunday afternoon to take on San Francisco after completing a grueling 110-minute game against Santa Clara.

The Bears started the game off slow, as the Dons compiled a 6-2 shot advantage in the first half — including a blow in the 18th minute when All-American Conor Chinn drove past two defenders and sent the ball to the back of the net. Unlike the Santa Clara game, the Bears’ spirits sank as they faced a one-goal deficit and a red-card penalty that ejected Rob Medairos ’12 at the 32:49 mark.

“We had just played a hard-fought overtime game two days before and were facing a 1-0 deficit with one man down — we kind of felt sorry for ourselves and let up a little,” Grandstrand said. “That went on for a while, but we finally got our confidence back heading into the second half.”

The Bears battled with the Dons as the physical level of play continued to escalate with yet another red card issued to McNamara in the 77th minute. With an additional man down and the end of regulation a mere 13 minutes away, the Bears stormed back into the game with a revised game plan that fit the team’s circumstances.

“Since we were down a couple of players, we had to change the mentality of our play,” Remick said. “We would have to score in a different way and capitalize on corner and free kicks.”

The Bears did just that. They held a 9-2 corner kick advantage in the game and scored the decisive goal on a free kick late in the second half. Jay Hayward ’12 placed the free kick perfectly in the box. Substitute goalie Brendan Roslund fumbled the ball, and Remick found himself in the perfect position to nail the ball into the goal.

Once again, the Brown defense held its own for the remainder of the game, which ended in a 1-1 tie.

“That was a huge test for our team. It could have gone a totally different way,” Remick said.

“It showed our heart and focus. Nothing distracts us and we keep fighting.”

Chinn added another three shots on goal to pace the Dons on offense, but Grandstrand stood tall in net with six critical saves that kept the Bears alive. Austin Mandel ’12, Remick and junior captain David Walls ’11 combined for the team’s six shots on goal with two apiece. Remick, whose second goal of the season placed him second overall in team points with five, received Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors for his efforts in California.

“It was very encouraging to pull out the tie. It definitely shows that people are invested and committed to the team,” Grandstrand said. “It was the biggest battle of a soccer match that I’ve personally been a part of and will be a game that we will never forget.”

The Bears return home to Stevenson Field on Wednesday night to take on No. 14 Boston University (6-2-1) at 7 p.m. The two teams played to a 0-0 tie last season and the same grudge match will be expected this year. Beating BU would boost Bruno’s RPI standings and the chance of a postseason birth. Brown will then begin Ivy League play on Saturday at Columbia (2-4-0). The Lions lost to BU, 1-0, on Sept. 20.

“We want to continue to play the same game we’ve been playing — really stepping it up in the Ivy League ­— but it’s one game at a time, and BU is our next biggest test,” Remick said.